Home Styles Dessert Wines Grande Maison Monbazillac – Cuvee des Anges

If you want to share something sweet this Valentine’s Day there are a number of fantastic dessert wines you can try.  I don’t drink a lot of dessert wine, but when I do I like to be adventurous and try new things.

Monbazillac is something that you probably haven’t had before, but you may want to give it a shot.  It’s a wine produced from grapes effected by noble rot.  When I first heard of noble rot, I didn’t know what to think.  “Noble” sounds like a good thing, but “rot” does not sound so appealing.  And grapes effected with this benign fungus look much more rotten than they look noble.  In fact, if I came across grapes looking like this on my grape vines I’d be inclined to put on a pair of latex gloves that go up to my elbow to remove this contaminated-looking mess.  Making wine from the grapes would not even cross my mind.

Noble Rot
Image Source: WikiMedia Commons

Luckily, someone at some point in time decided to try making wine with these grapes and the results are spectacular.  Noble rot removes much of the moisture from the grapes, this results in a high natural sugar level in the grapes which can be used to make concentrated sweet wines.  These are also referred to as botrytized wines, named after botrytis (the fungus that causes noble rot.)

The most renowned botrytized wine is Sauternes, which is made from Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle grapes in the Sauternes region of France.  Sauternes is often an exceptional wine, but it also tends to be rather pricey.  Better deals can be found with wines from  neighboring regions, such as Monbazillac.  In a way, you can think of Monbazillac as a “poor man’s Sauternes.”

Monbazillac, like Sauternes, can be produced with different blends of Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and/or Muscadelle.  The blend in this Monbazillac from Grande Maison includes 35% Muscadelle, 50 % Semillon and 15% Sauvignon Blanc.

Grande Maison Monbazillac

The first thing I notice about this wine is a somewhat grassy aroma.  There is also a nutty quality along with some pear, lemon and mineral in the bouquet.  The palate is apple, pear and soft peach with honey on the long and lingering finish.

This is a very nice dessert wine and only $10.59 for a 375ml bottle.  I should note that many dessert wines come in smaller bottles and the prices are what you would expect to pay for a full size bottle of non-dessert wine.  But you will typically consume a lot less of a dessert wine at one sitting than you would a table wine.

Wine: Grande Maison – Cuvee des Anges
Variety: Monbazillac
Vintage: 2005
Alcohol: 13.5%
Rating: 89
Price: $10.59 (375ml)

Find Grande Maison Monbazillac with Snooth

5 replies to this post
  1. Wow- This seems like a good deal when you consider the costs for other botrytised whites.

    Thanks for the notes on this!

  2. Recently I tasted, at VinExpo, a selection from “Grande Maison”. All were excellent. My favorite was “Cuvée des Monstres”, from 70 year old vines.

  3. Thanks for the comment, Alan. I haven’t come across any other Grande Maison wines, but I would love to try their other stuff.

  4. I had a Grnde Maison Bergerac 2005 Cuvee Opera (merlot) in Hobart and loved it. Do you have any wine like this one or do you have this one?

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